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Barbara Hart Kennedy, a native of Sacramento, died peacefully on Thursday (May 26), just days shy of her 100th birthday. Her wide circle of friends and admirers spanned several generations, from those who grew up with her on 44th Street in east Sacramento to those who came to meet her during her final days.Born Barbara June Hart on June 7, 1922, she graduated from Sacramento High School and went on to study at the University of California at Berkeley, but her studies were interrupted by a call to service and to the skies. She joined an elite group of women Womenâs Air Service Pilots, who flew planes domestically during World War II.
In 2010, she was among about 180 surviving WASPs who received the Congressional Gold Medal. After the war, she worked as a flight attendant â then called stewardesses â for Pan American Airlines in the Pacific and Asia. In 1948, she married Douglas Kennedy, also a native of east Sacramento, and started a family. She was involved with several charitable and service groups, including the American Cancer Society, the Girl and Boy Scouts of America, the United Way, the American Red Cross and the Sacramento Junior League. She also served on the advisory board of KVIE and as a member of the board of the Sacramento Symphony. In 1975, she was appointed the jury commissioner for the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, a post she held for about a decade. She also was an avid golfer, as she and her husband were longtime members of Del Paso Country Club. Barbara was an accomplished duplicate bridge player, competing until recent years in tournaments. For three decades she was responsible for the floral arrangements on the altar of her church, Fremont Presbyterian Church. Most of all, she was devoted to her family, friends, church and country. She is survived by her daughter, Kristie Carling of Reno and her husband Arthur; a son, John of West Tisbury, Mass., and his wife Jane Seagrave; four grandchildren, Amy Bodensteiner (and husband Todd); Douglas Carling and Molly Carling, all of Reno; and Emily Kennedy of Chicago; and three great grandchildren, Ayla and Ellie Bodensteiner and Crosby Carling of Reno. Her loving husband Douglas and dear daughter Judy predeceased her. Her wing man, brother Richard Hart, died in 2016. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Barbaraâs name to the charity of oneâs choice. Services to be announced at a later time.
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